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Are post-nups a good idea? Jennifer Lopez & Ben Affleck are considering it

It has been reported that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are considering entering into a post-nuptial agreement one year after getting married.

The Hollywood couple who broke up in 2004, restarted their relationship in 2021 and married a year ago, much to the delight of fans. But with rumours of trouble in paradise rife, it is now being reported that the pair are calling in lawyers to draw up a legal document in case of any future divorce.

And with a combined fortune of £600 million, the stakes are high when it comes to settling their financial affairs.

Chris Longbottom, expert divorce lawyer and partner says post-nuptial agreements are sensible and not just for the Hollywood elite.

 A post – nuptial agreement is an agreement entered into after marriage – as opposed to a pre-nuptial agreement entered into before marriage

 

“It defines what should happen to a couple’s financial affairs if their marriage was to end. Sometimes a pre-nuptial agreement is redrafted post-marriage into a post-nuptial agreement to remove the idea that it may have been pressed upon the other party pre-marriage as an ultimatum or because it was entered into close before the marriage.

“Some enter into a post-nuptial agreement to strengthen a relationship or perhaps after a period of separation. Jennifer Lopez has been divorced before and with a reported wealth of double that of her husband, she clearly wants to protect her fortune should the couple divorce.

It also seems that after a reported difficult first year of marriage, Ben Affleck is willing to enter into an agreement in the hope that it gives his wife the reassurances she needs in their relationship.”

In England and Wales, nuptial agreement are not binding on the court but if done correctly, and if they meet certain requirements, they are likely to be upheld by a court unless they are deemed to be ‘unfair’.

They are less likely to be held to be ‘unfair’ if they are recent, if full disclosure has taken place between the parties as to their finances, they take independent legal advice, circumstances have not changed since the agreement was made and both understand the nature and effect of the agreement without there being any duress to enter into its terms.

Chris continued: “For many couples it is sensible to review or include a revision clause in the agreement if an event happens (a trigger event defined in the agreement) which may change the underlying financial positions, their financial needs and whether the agreement now still remains to be regarded as ‘fair’, such as the birth of a child or serious health issues.

“It may also be the case that an annual review is to take place to ensure that there are no such changes periodically. What may be regarded as ‘fair’ at the outset may not be the case in future years if there is a change of circumstances. If deemed to be unfair, the court may not uphold part, or all, of the agreement.

A correctly prepared and regularly checked nuptial agreement can therefore provide certainty and help to strengthen a marriage. Both parties will have agreed what represents a fair outcome should the marriage end and in doing so, assets can be ring-fenced and protected in the agreement so long as the outcome remains deemed as fair.

So whether or not you have a multi-million pound estate, drawing up legal documents is a relatively easy way to gain peace of mind, protect your assets and avoid any disputes later down the line.”

Chris Longbottom heads the family law team at Clarke Willmott, regularly dealing with the issues that arise for an individual following the breakdown of a relationship. Chris specialises in complex financial cases and private law children matters. To get in touch with Chris, please request a consultation.

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